As a broker, we represent thousands of individual private sellers. While most vessel prices are somewhat negotiable, we cannot guarantee that any offer (other than full price) will be accepted. In general, in today's global market, boats tend to sell at about 93% of their advertised price. There's no way to tell what offer will work for a particular seller unless you try it.
We represent you, but we also represent the seller (through a separate individual agent) and therefore have a policy against submitting verbal offers to sellers. We only present offers in writing, backed by a 10% deposit (once accepted by seller). It is only fair to the seller, who may have to talk it over with his wife, or her husband, with their family and perhaps with partners in the vessel or a bank, that the offer be a real offer.
Your sales consultant can prepare a written offer (Purchase & Sale Agreement, or P & S document). The document we use is endorsed by the Florida Yacht Brokers' Association for consistency.
You submit an offer to purchase rather than purchasing outright to give you time to schedule a survey, mechanical inspection, engine compression check and/or trial run. During the window specified in the P & S agreement (typically two weeks), the seller is prohibited from selling this vessel to another party. Without this contract to purchase, the seller could sell the boat to someone else immediately after your successful survey, and you would have paid for a survey and not had the opportunity to purchase!
This is a very standard practice, and you would not be able to purchase a used vessel from anywhere else without signing a P & S agreement in advance.
Once the P & S agreement is signed by the seller at an agreed upon price, (which could be your initial offer or somewhere in the middle of your offer and the advertised price), you will be assigned a friendly Closing Advocate whose job it is to ensure your transaction is as smooth as possible no matter what comes up. This closing professional will ask you for a copy of your driver's license, and/or passport as well as your current mailing address. You are required to submit your 10% deposit to our escrow account (see wiring instructions document) within 2 banking (business) days. If not submitted within 2 banking days, the agreement is voided. This deposit can be sent in advance, as many buyers do, and held to use as a deposit once the agreement is signed, or for the deposit on another vessel.
At this point, you are free to schedule the survey, inspection and/or trial run.